Thursday, October 24, 2013

Karnataka's PD pilot - what happened last year?

I was happy to read yesterday that Karnataka was launching a pilot project on Peritoneal Dialysis. The state would bear 65% of the cost and the rest would be borne by patients. As I thought about it, I felt a sense of deja-vu. I had read this earlier as well! Guess what a Google search for "Karnataka PD pilot" threw up? The second result was my blog dated February 6th, 2012 on this same topic!

The same proposal, the same institute, the same director! Well, I really wonder what has been happening on this proposal for the last one and half years? Anyway, I am not going to complain. We all know how things in the government take time. More so when it is really for the good of the people!

I really believe that Peritoneal Dialysis is an excellent alternative to hemodialysis. It requires no expensive machines, no expensive staff, not much infrastructure and it can be done in the convenience of home! What more can one ask for?

Despite all its benefits, PD has always been the step-child of nephrology, a bad word, something not talked about with respect, something not for real people. The big corporates have frowned upon any promotion of PD. It did not sit well in their grand scheme of things. Patients would have more power. Patients would be more normal. They would not need to come to the nephrologists as often. They would not need to come to the hospitals as often. All this was bad business! And isn't that what healthcare has become all about - business? Who cares about the patient?

When I was put on PD back in 1999, it was more expensive than hemodialysis. At least there was a valid excuse for patients to not be recommended PD. Over the years, however, it has become cheaper than hemodialysis. Thankfully, there are no businessmen colluding to keep prices high! However, despite this, the penetration of PD is still abysmally low. Who is to blame? I still see many patients who have not even heard of PD!

So, in all this gloom, when such a piece of news comes in the form of a Government scheme to promote PD, I cannot be anything but delighted! Doesn't matter if the scheme is a year and half old. The Institute of Nephro Urology, its Director, G. K. Venkatesh and the Government of Karnataka, all deserve to be congratulated!

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